April 7, 2023
The Big Issues
- HB 1005, the result of last year’s Housing Task Force, would provide a new revolving loan fund for local units to access for funding infrastructure costs associated with housing development. It also removes the growth limitation and school board approval associated with using Residential TIF.
- Aim supports this bill because it provides new voluntary tools for local government to work collaboratively with developers to support needed housing development in their communities.
- HB 1005, authored by Rep. Doug Miller (R-Elkhart) and sponsored by Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger), passed the Senate this week with a vote of 32-16.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE
- HB 1454, authored by Rep. Craig Snow (R-Warsaw) and sponsored by Sen. Eric Bassler (R-Washington), is the annual Department of Local Government Finance agency bill that is often a home for other language affecting local government finance. This week it was amended and passed the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee to include many provisions.
- Aim supports the language that requires counties to notify municipalities of LIT changes prior to them taking effect and language that makes it easier for RDCs to purchase blighted property.
- Aim opposes language that provides broad new property tax exemptions to senior living facilities, places health care facilities (including hospitals) in the 2% property tax cap category, and exempts video streaming services from franchise fees and eliminates other fees on franchisees for accessing public rights-of-way.
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING & PILOTS
- SB 419, authored by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) and sponsored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), is the annual Department of Revenue agency bill that contains many updates to the internal revenue code. This week, it was amended in the House Ways and Means Committee to include language previously housed in HB 1085 that only allows RDCs to spend money throughout the year on projects outlined in their annual plan and increases reporting requirements for RDC fund balances.
- Language was also added that limits the utility rates municipalities can charge outside corporate boundaries and prohibits PILOTs on municipal utilities from going into the municipality’s general fund.
- Aim opposes these changes because they reduce the flexibility of RDCs to respond to economic development opportunities and because it limits local ratemaking authority over municipal utilities.
- SB 325 is a response to a recent Indiana Tax Court case that called into question the long-standing definition of homesteads for the purposes of homestead deductions and property tax caps. This week, the bill was amended to define homesteads as one house, one garage, one additional structure used for residential purposes, one-acre of land, and all additional improvements like pools and gazebos. It also changes all additional property on the parcel containing a homestead to be at the 2% property tax cap instead of the 3% property tax cap.
- Aim supports the clarification for administrative ease that assessors no longer have to attempt to draw a one acre area for assessment purposes. However, other changes in the bill, especially changing the other property from a 3% to a 2% property tax cap, may have significant fiscal impacts that Aim will be monitoring and discussing with fiscal leaders.
- SB 325, authored by Sen. Brian Buchanan (R-Lebanon) and sponsored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), passed the House Ways and Means committee on Wednesday with a vote of 22-0.
- SB 4 is the bill providing new funding to local health departments following the recommendations of the Governor’s Public Health Commission. This week it was changed in Committee to earmark 60% of the new funding for programs aimed at improving health outcomes that would be granted to providers. It also removed the municipal appointment to the public health board and replaced it with a municipal recommendation of three possible candidates from which the county would pick.
- Aim continues to support the bill but would prefer to see the changes this week that reduce local flexibility and limit municipal involvement in the public health board to be returned to the prior version.
- SB 4, authored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) and sponsored by Rep. Brad Barrett (R-Richmond), passed the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday with a vote of 11-1 and will now go to the Ways and Means Committee.
AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“Less than a week ago, our members, the Town of Whiteland and their neighbor New Whiteland, and the City of Sullivan really took devastating hits from the tornados. They have received an outpouring of support, but of course, they could always use more help in the form of donations to their respective community foundations. You can do so by contributing to the people of Sullivan via the Wabash Valley Community Foundation. To help the communities in Johnson County, you can donate to the Johnson County Community Foundation.”
– Jennifer Simmons, Aim COO
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